OPINION: Six months after the brutal terrorist attack on a gay bar, nothing has changed in the Czech Republic or Slovakia

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04/12/2023

Krystof Stupka is a member of the Czech Government’s Committee on LGBTQ+ Rights – Every time I go back to that tragic night, my hands tremble with a mixture of sadness and rage. It has been six long, agonising months since the heinous terrorist attack in Bratislava tore apart our community, leaving behind broken hearts and shattered ideals. Juraj Vankulič and Matúš Horváth, two beautiful souls, were brutally murdered in a gay bar by a man consumed by hatred, driven by an extremist manifesto that targeted the Jews and the LGBTQ+ community. Yet, here we are, still waiting for our leaders to show a shred of genuine empathy or understanding, let alone take any tangible steps towards combating the homophobia and transphobia that plague our society. Our politicians’ hollow words and empty promises are a bitter reminder of the discrimination that continues to fester beneath the surface. I still seethe with frustration as I remember how Eduard Heger and Petr Fiala, the prime ministers of Slovakia and Czech Republic respectively, both casually dismissed homosexuality as a mere “lifestyle” in the aftermath of the attack. Their ignorance was a slap in the face for every queer person who has experienced discrimination or violence. It’s a jarring reminder that our society is not as progressive as it pretends to be, and that our leaders are complicit in perpetuating the bigotry we face.

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